SIR Matt Busby, perhaps the most famous football name Scotland has produced and one of the world's great managers, died peacefully in his sleep last night. He was 84.
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Sir Matt, born in Bellshill, was president of Manchester United, a club he had been associated with as manager and then director since 1945. He had been in the Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle for a fortnight but had been ill for some time.
The hospital said Sir Matt had been suffering from blood cancer for a number of years. His close family were with him when he died.
Sir Matt was a widower: his wife Jean died in 1988. He is survived by a son and a daughter.
Sir Matt took charge of Manchester United immediately after the Second World War. He had to build up the club, which was to become the biggest in England and one of the best known in the world, not once but twice, the second time after the Munich air crash destroyed the Busby Babes in 1958.
His second great team won the European Cup in 1968.
Mr Major, a Chelsea supporter, led the tributes to Sir Matt, saying his death was ''a matter of great sadness to many people''.
Denis Law, one of Busby's greatest signings for United, was visibly moved on ITN's News at Ten from outside Old Trafford. He broke down after the interview.
Law said: ''He was probably the greatest manager English football has seen, a visionary who took English clubs into Europe when most people thought it unwise.
''He proved he was right. He built great teams in the 1940s, the 1950s, and the 1960s but, more important, he was a true gentleman to everyone from the playing stars to the groundstaff boys.
''It is very sad and strange to think he will no longer be around.''
Manchester United chief executive Martin Edwards said: ''This is a terribly sad day for Manchester United. But we are so grateful that we shared in Sir Matt's life and work.''
Tommy Docherty, one of Sir Matt's successors as Manchester United manager, called for the Old Trafford stadium to be renamed in memory of his old mentor.
Bobby Charlton, the most famous of Sir Matt's Busby Babes, was distraught. He said: ''I'm too overcome to say anything at this moment.''
Danny Blanchflower's brother Jackie, another of the Busby Babes whose career was ended by the Munich disaster, said: ''It's simple. He was the best manager there ever was.''